Qatar invested in 5 buildings in Manhattan

New York city looking forward to see the Brookfield’s seven-million square foot Manhattan West development is ideally positioned at the gateway of Manhattan’s newest vibrant neighborhood, the Hudson Yards District. Our project will bring together commerce, lifestyle, recreation and transportation on the new West side.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA)said they’ve formed a joint venture on a $8.6 billion mixed-use project under construction on Manhattan’s far west side.

Manhattan West plans call for five buildings, including a 62-story, 844-unit residential tower that’s already under construction and a 67-story office skyscraper that will be anchored by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and is scheduled for completion in 2019. Qatar Investment Authority will acquire a 44 percent stake in the development, the companies said in a statement Wednesday.

The sovereign wealth fund teamed with Brookfield earlier this year on deals to acquire London’s Canary Wharf Group and builder Songbird Estates Plc.

“Brookfield has enjoyed a long-standing, successful relationship with QIA and we are thrilled that they share our vision for this transformative project,” said Bruce Flatt, chief executive officer of parent Brookfield Asset Management Inc., said in the statement.

Brookfield said in April it would start building its 1 Manhattan West office tower after signing a lease with Skadden, Arps for about a quarter of the skyscraper. The agreement jump-started office construction at the Manhattan West project, part of an effort to draw the Midtown business district west toward toward the Hudson River.

South Africa’s Economy shaky

Zuma promised the South African people that he will bring the change and the correction, but till now nothing of what he said came true.

And lately we heard that South Africa faces a “serious struggle” to meet its plan to cut unemployment and boost growth because of the global slowdown, President Jacob Zuma said in his frankest admission about the state of the economy.

“You can’t say when the economy is not growing that your original plans will be implemented as they were,” Zuma, 73, said in an interview Tuesday in Pretoria, the capital. “There will be an impact, which will mean that in terms of how we meet them, it is going to be a serious struggle.”

South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to 25.5 percent in the third quarter from 25.1 percent in the previous three months, the statistics agency said Tuesday. Africa’s second-largest economy is struggling to create enough jobs at the same time that falling metal prices force mining companies such as Anglo American Platinum Ltd. to consider firing workers.

Running Battles

Zuma spoke at his residence near the Union Buildings where four days ago thousands of demonstrators called for a freeze on university tuition, capping more than a week of protests by the students that were the biggest since the end of apartheid. The unrest provoked running battles between the police using stun grenades and protesters outside Parliament in Cape Town and in Pretoria. On Friday, Zuma bowed to their demand.

“It was clear that if we did not have a solution the demonstrations would have gone further,” Zuma said. “They were very courageous.”

The protests weren’t a sign of deepening discontent with the ruling African National Congress, Zuma said, and were instead part of demands by young South Africans to ensure that black people gain equal access to an economy still dominated by whites.

Facing Stones

The #FeesMustFall Twitter campaign was fueled by rising student costs, including fees, housing, food and textbooks that can exceed 100,000 rand ($7,300) a year. First-year tuition alone at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where the protests started, ranges from about 32,000 rand to more than 58,000 rand.

At the Oct. 23 protest at the Union Buildings, Zuma said he observed students throwing stones at police and “interfering” with a podium set up for him, before deciding against coming out to address the protesters directly.

“There was anxiety because the behavior of the students outside was quite something,” he said. “I didn’t think it was prudent to go and just meet the stones or whatever and therefore move away from the important issue of addressing the cause of the protests of the students.”

The student protests have rattled investors, with the rand slipping 4.3 percent against the dollar since the start of last week, the most of 16 major currencies monitored by Bloomberg.

Toyota Motors in the Top sale

The carpet bulled slowly underneath the VW legs when Volkswagen AG lost the lead in global auto sales to Toyota Motor Corp. after claiming the No. 1 spot three months ago, as the German carmaker braces for consumer blowback from a widening emissions-cheating scandal.

Toyota said Monday it sold 7.49 million vehicles this year through September, topping the 7.43 million that Volkswagen reported earlier this month. Deliveries declined 1.5 percent for both Toyota and Volkswagen.

The results include less than two weeks of sales reporting by Volkswagen after its admission to rigging diesel engines with software that deceived regulators about pollution levels. While the German automaker led Toyota in global sales through the first six months, it’s now readying repairs to 11 million vehicles worldwide and has stopped sales of diesel models in several markets as it brings engines into compliance. The company is also facing a slowdown in demand in China, its largest market, with its namesake brand declining 7.4 percent in the first nine months.

“Toyota will be the No. 1 for this year,” Koji Endo, an auto analyst at Advanced Research Japan, said by phone. “VW may be facing sales difficulties due to the scandal toward next year in Europe and the U.S., and I don’t see the Chinese market coming back anytime soon.”

As Volkswagen stumbles, Toyota is now preparing to begin deliveries of its updatedPrius hatchback. After almost seven years without a redesign, the company is promising a sportier ride for its top-selling hybrid, an improvement in fuel economy of about 10 percent and an even bigger boost for an Eco version of the model. Sales begin in Japan before the end of the year.

Toyota planned to add about 1,400 workers at factories in Japan to ramp up production of the new Prius and its updated Land Cruiser sport utility vehicle, people familiar with the matter said in August. As one of the top-selling models within Toyota’s lineup built exclusively in the company’s home market, the Prius will help boost Japan exports. Toyota’s also betting improved acceleration and added safety features will lift demand for the $80,000 Land Cruiser, its most expensive SUV, in markets including the U.S.

Facebook, Use it Or Leave it.

Facebook Users allowed to refile claims, but the case was dismissed unsuccessfully when Facebook Inc. won dismissal of a $15 billion lawsuit accusing the company of secretly tracking the Internet activity of its users after they log off.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose, California, on Friday agreed with Facebook’s argument that case should be dismissed because subscribers didn’t specify how they were harmed. The judge, who took more than three years to issue his ruling after hearing arguments in the case, said the users could refile most of their claims in a revised lawsuit.

Facebook users alleged in a 2012 complaint that while they may have agreed to the company’s installation of “cookie” files on their computers to track and transmit their Web browsing, they didn’t consent to such monitoring after logging out of the social network. The lawsuit consolidated similar complaints filed on behalf of U.S. residents who subscribed to Facebook from May 2010 to September 2011 in 10 states, including California, Texas and Alabama.

Facebook, the world’s most popular social-networking service, has been scrutinized by regulators in the U.S. and Europe over how it uses subscribers’ private information. The company has also been hit with multiple privacy lawsuits, from a complaint that it scans users’ private e-mail messages for targeted advertising to a claim that its use of facial-recognition technology has “amassed the world’s largest privately held database of consumer biometric data.”

In the San Jose case, the plaintiffs accused Facebook of violating the U.S. Wiretap Act by monitoring their online activity while they weren’t logged on. They also accused Facebook of improperly profiting from their information.

Audi A6 2016, The excellent Quattro all-wheel drive

2016, Audi will sale in the market the new A6 Quattro with 333-horsepower V6 engine.

Audi’s fourth-generation, $57,400 A6 comes with the company’s excellent Quattro all-wheel drive, a comfortable, responsive suspension, and a 333-horsepower V6 engine. It goes to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 128 miles per hour. And it drives as if it’s been educated at one of Connecticut’s finer prep schools: smart around corners, well-mannered on the straight. It listens when you turn the wheel or apply the brakes; it reacts immediately to directives and responds well to encouragement.

Here, behind the wheel of the automatic eight-speed A6, nothing is off-kilter, since the DriveSelect system comes standard and allows a choice among Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual modes. Each of those offers different throttle and steering response. The transmission includes its own Sport mode. Fuel efficiency hits 20 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway.

In short, this is Audi’s second-biggest sedan, but thanks to all that, you could easily forget its size. The driving personality is unfailingly even-handed—placid, not sluggish. It’s geared as smoothly as those big oil derricks down in Texas working as you drive by.

Perfect Data

The media offerings are also highly evolved but not to the point of distraction. There is an interface dial between the front seats that controls menus, navigation, sound, and climate, plus there are buttons and a touchpad on the console. Google Earth and Audi’s data system support live traffic updates, parking garage capacities, gas prices, and weather patterns. Considering the complexity of its functions, it’s an easy universe to navigate.

The dashboard is nicely sculpted; the leather steering wheel and seats are high quality. The rear bench seats three adults in comfort, provided they’re friendly. In fact, it’s all nice, very nice. Which is to say, it’s all pretty vanilla.

I think the thing here is to get as many upgrades as you can. First on the list should be the Prestige Package, which for $4,600 includes a heads-up display, LED headlights, front-seat ventilation and lumbar support, BOSE Surround Sound, a Warm Weather Package, a power-automatic trunk, and interior LED lighting.

See also: the $1,800 S-Line Sport Package (19-inch wheels, all-season tires, sport suspension, S badging on the interior and exterior); the $500 Cold Weather Package (heated rear seats, heated steering wheel); and the $1,500 Black Optic Package (20-inch titanium finished wheels, summer tires, high-gloss black trim on the grille). Total price on the version I drove, which included all this plus taxes and fees, came to $66,875. (The base 2016 A6, with a 2-liter turbocharged engine and front-wheel drive, costs $47,125.)

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US Dollar in the downside

Negative US data today, pulled down the greenback and kept it low against the other major currencies on Tuesday, after the release of mixed U.S. data fuelled further uncertainty over the timing of a U.S. rate hike.

The dollar was lower against the euro, with EUR/USD easing up 0.09% to 1.1337.

The U.S. Commerce Department said that housing starts rose 6.5% to 1.206 million units last month from August’s total of 1.132 million units. Analysts had expected a figure of 1.140 million.

The report also showed that the number of building permits issued dropped by 5.0% to 1.103 million units from August’s total of 1.170 million. Analysts expected building permits to fall by 0.9% to 1.164 million units in July.

Meanwhile, the single currency strengthened as investors looked ahead to a European Central Bank meeting later in the week amid speculation that it could flag plans to enlarge its stimulus program.

The dollar moved higher against the yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.31% to 119.86.

Elsewhere, the dollar was steady against the pound, with GBP/USD at 1.5463 and lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF shedding 0.22% to 0.9546.

In Switzerland, data earlier showed that the trade surplus widened to 3.047 billion Swiss francs in September from a downwardly revised 2.862 billion Swiss francs the previous month. Analysts had expected the trade surplus to narrow to 2.510 billion Swiss francs last month.

The Australian dollar remained stronger, with AUD/USD gaining 0.34% to 0.7270, whileNZD/USD dropped 0.55% to 0.6754.

Earlier Tuesday, in the minutes of its October policy meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia said the Aussie’s depreciation and low interest rates have helped the local economy rebalance.

The comments staved off any expectations for a rate hike by the RBA in the near future.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD dropped 0.56% to trade at 1.2942.

Data on Tuesday showed that Canada’s wholesale sales slipped 0.1% in August, compared to expectations for a 0.2% rise and after a 0.1% downtick the previous month.

Canada elected its first Liberal government in almost a decade late Monday, sparking uncertainty over the economic outlook.

 

The red dragon wake up again

The economic growth in China seems to be so noticeable those days and expanded quicker than economists forecast in the third quarter as the services sector offset weaker manufacturing, keeping Premier Li Keqiang’s 2015 growth target within reach.

Gross domestic product rose 6.9 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday, beating economists’ estimates for 6.8 percent. While that was the slowest quarterly expansion since 2009, based off previously announced data, stabilization will ease fears of a deeper downturn for investors and central bankers from Tokyo to Frankfurt to Washington.

Strength in services and consumption helped reduce the drag from weaker manufacturing and exports, showing the continuing transformation of the world’s second-largest economy. The pace of growth in the services sector quickened to 8.4 percent in the first nine months of the year, while so-called secondary industry — which includes manufacturing — weakened to a 6 percent expansion.

The data show “a re-balancing away from growth driven by investment and secondary sector production towards consumption and the services sector,” said James Laurenceson, deputy director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology in Sydney. “It’s time we accept that Chinese growth isn’t solely at the mercy of industrial production and fixed-asset investment.”

The government has cut interest rates five times since November and boosted infrastructure spending in recent months to keep growth from sliding too far below this year’s target for about 7 percent.

Shares pared earlier gains, with the Shanghai Composite Index closing little changed. The Australian dollar strengthened.

Industrial output in September rose 5.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with economists’ median estimate of 6 percent. Retail sales increased 10.9 percent, versus a 10.8 percent gain forecast for the month.

“Consumption continued to function as the key cushion, preventing a sharper overall slowdown,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The property slump and export weakness contained industrial sales and profit margins and lifted spare capacity, particularly in heavy industry.”

Is the Oil price going to hike again

What do you think that Saudi looking for against Russia when you hear that the oil refiners in Europe are cutting their longstanding use of Russian crude in favour of Saudi grades as the world’s top exporters fight for market share.

Russia has for years been muscling in on Asian markets where Saudi Arabia was once the unchallenged dominant supplier. But now Riyadh is retaliating in Moscow’s backyard of Europe with aggressive price discounting.

This has nothing to do with Western sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, which apply to energy industry equipment but not to oil or gas itself. Instead it is a commercial battle for customers as both exporters ramp up their output despite weak world oil prices.

This is likely to complicate further a dialogue between Moscow and the OPEC exporters’ group on tackling the global oil glut, with joint production cuts already looking elusive.

Trading sources told Reuters that majors such as Exxon, Shell, Total and Eni have been all buying more Saudi oil for their refineries in Western Europe and the Mediterranean in the past few months at the expense of Russian oil.

“I’m buying less and less Russian crude for my refineries in Europe simply because Saudi barrels are looking more attractive. It is a no brainer for me as Saudi crude is just cheaper,” said a trading source with one major, who asked not to be named because he is not allowed to speak to the media.

Riyadh traditionally focussed on the U.S. and Asian markets, leaving Moscow as a major supplier to Europe, especially the eastern countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc.

But Russia’s most powerful oil executive, Rosneft (ROSN.MM) chief Igor Sechin, said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia had started supplying ex-communist Poland at “dumping” prices. Then on Wednesday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak described the Saudi entry into eastern European markets was the “toughest competition”.

Trading sources said at least one cargo reached the Polish port of Gdansk in September and two more could come in October, to be processed by refiners PKN Orlen and Lotos.

Two trading sources said Saudi Arabia was looking at storing crude in Gdansk so that it can supply eastern European customers more quickly, just as it has done for years for western European clients from ports in the Netherlands or Belgium.

One trader said supplies from Gdansk could be sent to Germany to compete with Russian crude sent down the Soviet-built Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline.

The Baltic state of Lithuania, once a Soviet republic, is also looking to diversify its energy supplies. Lithuanian energy minister Rokas Masiulis told Reuters on Wednesday that the country is in talks with U.S. liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy Inc (LNG.A) over possible imports as it tries to cut its dependence on Russian supplier Gazprom (GAZP.MM).

CitiGroup made a record in the 3Q

Goldman you missed this time as Citigroup Inc. gets more than half its revenue from abroad, boosted profit more than analysts estimated after a drop in legal costs helped it cut expenses faster than revenue fell.

Third-quarter net income rose 51 percent to $4.29 billion, or $1.35 a share, from $2.84 billion, or 88 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based lender said Thursday in a statement. Earnings amounted to $1.31 a share excluding accounting adjustments, beating the $1.27 average estimate of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat, striving to meet financial goals by the end of this year, has sold assets and closed branches to shave costs and focus on affluent consumers and multinational corporations. That helped the firm weather the third quarter’s global market turmoil, which hurt revenue and profits at peers including JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Citi is actually by some measures performing better than JPMorgan in terms of expense efficiency and capital,” David Hilder, an analyst at Drexel Hamilton LLC, said in an interview before results were reported.

Citigroup climbed 2 percent to $51.72 at 9:53 a.m. in New York. The shares dropped 6.3 percent this year through Wednesday, roughly mirroring the 6.7 decline of the 24-company KBW Bank Index.